The inaugural National Writers Forum is a pleasure to be involved with. And, I’ll confess, no small feat to put together. Festivals are an organism I’ve rubbed along with for a few years now and I’ve come to recognise their patterns and how those patterns have impressed themselves upon my brain. The way I think about a programme is via a festival diagnosis – sites, crowds, the location of the coffee, the balance, the spirals that flow out from the keystone sessions, the proliferation of ideas and the idea of the ideas festival, the intricate makeup of a panel versus the weighty placement of chairperson and writer.
But the National Writers Forum is not a festival. It’s another organism entirely and one that’s re-wiring the way I think about who writers are, what their role is, who publishers are and how this ecosystem is getting along in this period of digital revolution.
So many conversations have taken place along the road to placing each piece together – with writers, with publishers, with editors, with festival directors, with international presenting partners, with agents, with readers – that this Forum might have been programmed seven times already. It is incredible to be faced with the energy of the publishing and writing world – and it’s that that’s propelling me toward September when all of the threads will come together in the Owen Glenn Building.
That’s the bit that gets me every time – the coming together of people with things to say – anything can happen at that point.
The first announcements are about to be made – stay tuned for more!
Claire Mabey – Programme Manager
(Image credit: this is from an experiment that LitCrawl did during the 2016 Fringe Festival. Putting wildly different kinds of writers together. It worked. Photo by Matt Bialostocki).